Published Jan 01, 2006Darkest Hour have no respect for the many fissures that split the extreme music scene into factions. As the various tentacles of metal and hardcore come closer together through technical wizardry (Dillinger Escape Plan, Botch), simplistic power chord plod (Diecast, Poison the Well) or viscous, melodic mayhem (Drowningman, Shai Hulud) supporters of straight-up hardcore or the New Wave of Swedish Death Metal still yearn for exclusivity.
That's why this DC quintet caused a minor brouhaha amongst both the fickle hardcore kids and staunch metallers when they hit the scene playing a vitriolic style that complemented the slick, guitar melody accented sounds of the NWOSDM with hardcore and noisecore. Admirably, the potential landmine the band is dancing on hasn't stopped them from doing their thing. Their new album, So Sedated, So Secure, teems with a more aggressive hardcore edge, and doubles the harmonised, European-influenced guitar work.
"Hardcore kids are into it," guitarist Mike Schleibaum theorises. "Hardcore kids all like metal like At the Gates, who were both the best band of the genre and the key band for hardcore posers to like. They didn't give a shit when At The Gates were around, but I think they're so bludgeoned by that shitty, chugging-on-the-E-string mix of metal hardcore, that when someone plays something a little more metal and turns it up a notch, they're into it and the reaction has been awesome. We fit into the hardcore scene because we look like a hardcore band, we act goofy on stage and we'll play a show in a basement, but we're way more metal than other bands.
"We get a mixed reaction from metalheads," he continues. "They know our influences, the bands we like and sound like. In that sense, I think their reactions are more honest because they know about classic death metal like Dismember, Entombed, Carcass and At The Gates."
And for those who, come hell or high water, are always going to think you suck? "Because metalheads know our influences, they'll accuse us of ripping them off. Dude, we love those bands, of course we're going to sound like them, but we're trying to take the sound to a different level. The hardcore kids who don't like us like Youth Of Today or Judge straight hardcore. Those kids get pissed when a band shows up and shreds. They're like, What the fuck, am I at the local rock bar?'"
The solution, for Schleibaum: "Go for the intelligent people man! An intelligent music fan will appreciate what we're trying to do. But, if it's someone who's into image over music, because so much of music is based on image, then we're in trouble!"